Given all of the sparkly Christmas trees and holiday windows popping up across the city, the universe summoned an equal and opposite reaction downtown: a Soho pop-up bar dedicated to the literal Dark Side. Reservations for the spot, dubbed The DarkSide Bar, are $33 per person (and include two signature cocktails per person). Walk-ins are $40.
While it may have restored balance to the Force, the overall feel is the kind of off-kilter vibe that’s hard to read. There is a certain genius to a DJ who blends Darth Vader’s wheezy one-liners with The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” or Luke Skywalker’s hopeful screeds with The Eurhythmics’s “Sweet Dreams.” And it pairs well with the Comic Con kitsch of colorful cocktails garnished with light-up ice cubes and billowing dry ice fog. But there is a certain sadness in seeing these cantina customers take photos with a sexy stormtrooper while never dancing with him. The Dark Side could use some lightening up.
We’d rather roll the dice with Mos Eisley’s wretched hive of scum and villainy than reorder this particular cantina’s $14 snack platter (which we suspect included an actual Hot Pocket). But some of the drinks themselves—many served in spheres, although sadly none called That’s No Moon or Greedo’s Shot—really delivered, especially the Jedi Mind Trick (a Midori spin on a Long Island Iced Tea) and the Red Sphere, which tastes delightfully like throwback fruit punch (cherry vodka, peach liqueur and tons of fruit juice).
The bar will be around until January 15 and will include a trivia night (duh), “intergalactic burlesque,” and “alien speed dating,” which was explained to us thusly: “People come dressed as ‘aliens’ from the extended universe and try to match based on their love and or knowledge of the Star Wars universe. The fun is that with the makeup or costumes they won’t really know what each other looks like.” All the galaxy’s a stage. Hate the players, not the game.
Now for the real talk: if you’ve read this far, you’re going. Our advice? Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.